Homework. Our great Nemesis.

by Jim on 22 January 2009

I’ve been promising to write more about Hannah and Nathanael’s homework, so you can get a little glimpse of our … umm … challenge…

Here’s the basic idea.  Hannah and Nathanael get home from school, and at least Nathanael usually has a short rest (he gets home first).  Then we have comida, our mid-day meal usually around 3pm.  After that?  Homework.

After homework, bed.

That’s right, it often goes right into the evening, and even then it doesn’t always get all done.

So what kinds of homework do they get?  Well, there is some variety, though a favourite involves cutting and pasting, or copying.

Take for example Hannah’s spelling assignments.  She had a list of 10 words (in Spanish, of course, but words like:  guitar, seagull, shawl, ravine…).  Then she had to find the word in a magazine or newspaper, and cut out the article.

Hannah doing homework, 22 Jan 2009

You try it – go look through your magazines and try to find the word seagull.  Now ravine.  Not as easy as you thought, was it?  And remember, you’re looking in your own language.  This was an assignment that required hours.

One day Hannah came home with these instructions: Make and bring a mermaid puppet for tomorrow.

Really?  Out of what?  How big?  What for?  Apparently everyone else knew what was expected… but we’re not as experienced as the general public in making mermaid puppets.

Nathanael doing homework, 22 Jan 2009

Nathanael will come home with homework for 3-4 subjects, a couple of pages each subject.  What kind of homework do they give a 4 year old?  Well, favourites are cutting and pasting, and writing.  Write an entire page of "H".  Cut and paste pictures of solids, liquids, and gases.  Write your full name 7 times.  As I write this he’s outlining his first and second name with plasticine (one of the more interesting assignments – but it’s taking a long time – he was bored after "h").

As I mentioned with the mermaid thing, we don’t always understand what’s expected.  All right, almost every day we don’t understand something or other.  Apparently after a year and a half of Spanish homework, we still have lots to learn.  Thankfully, we have friends and neighbours who help us … frequently … over and over … such as Mayra Fry – thanks, Mayra!

Last week Hannah came home with ingredients she needed for an elective she takes once a week.  They were ingredients we didn’t recognize, and as it turns out we had to buy them at a type of shop we didn’t know existed!  Of course, all on top of the regular homework and due the next day.

We’re not the only ones frustrated with the amount of homework – our neighbours (many of whom have kids too) feel the same way.  And often they don’t know what the teachers are asking for either!  But of course we have an extra challenge not being from "around here".  Plus, Hannah is doing a couple of courses in English – when is she supposed to do that?  And “playing”?  I think they did that a little over the holidays, that should do for a few months, right?

Anyway, this isn’t supposed to be a complaining post.  The frustration certainly goes up and down.  But we are looking for new ways to try to handle what is really not working right now.  And I know some of you have been curious about exactly what kind of challenge the homework is here.

Hopefully that helps you understand a bit more the nature of our Nemesis.

For a couple posts from the previous school year regarding homework, check out Kids at school and vine sheets and Doing our kids’ homework

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Grandma C. January 24, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Unbelievable! What about physical exercise? And independent play and social interaction? And rest and relaxation? I guess they get a certain amount of that at school, but really, the amount and type of homework does seem WAY over the top to me!!
I know there’s a lot to learn in our modern world and, maybe the private schools are setting even higher standards than the public ones (as we know from your experience at N.D.C.A. Jim), but I think something has to give. I just hope it’s not your sanity, or Shari’s or the kids’.

Shelli- Hermosillo January 29, 2009 at 12:08 am

I hear you all the way!!!!! I finally said forget the bilingual stuff, we are going Spanish and there still is a lot of homework. My kids get writers cramp before they finish their page of letters, and Caleb grade one doing a whole page of script writing when he barely has plain simple printing down. I admit, near the end I grab the pencil and use my left hand and finish it. AGHHHH!!!!! And did I mention EXAMS, and lots of them. I admit my spanish vocabulary is growing immensly with studying with my kids. I now know all the sounds of the animals, a Bird does not chirp but pias, a bee does not buzz it zumbas and my favorite is an owl that ululas. God give us wisdom and grace! 🙂

Jim January 31, 2009 at 9:40 am

Well, there is a lot of homework, but remember part of it is really our situation – with Nathanael needing extra sleep, and Hannah being essentially in a Canadian school system.

Yeah, exams – how about that? A lot of pressure for kids that age!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: